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Anuga is the world’s largest trade fair for food with 7,400 exhibitors and 165,000 visitors. It was held in Cologna from 7 to 11 October, and is the ideal place to learn about market and consumer trends.  GS&Co was present at the trade fair and summarises the top 10 trends (source: Innova Market Insights)

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  1. CLEAN SUPREME

The rules of the game have changed: “clean and clear” labelling (honest and easy to understand) has become the norm. Consumers’ demand for transparency means that the production process is now incorporated into the branding. The upstream part of the value chain is part of a “holistic” positioning of the product. This results in enhanced regional marketing and labels that specify origins.

Figures: +14% growth of products launched with “no additives” or “no preservatives” labels (15% of the total market).

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  1. DISRUPTIVE GREEN

Plant substitutes (organic, vegan) for dairy products and meat are becoming more “mainstream” this year, and a growing number of consumers are looking to enjoy the benefits of plant-based products for their personal well-being (physical and mental). Some large dairy and meat companies are incorporating plants into their products (taste, colour or benefits).

Figures: +25% vegan product launches in 2016 (4% of the market)

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  1. SWEETER BALANCE

The quest for a better balance between taste and health greatly influences product developments. Sugar is clearly under pressure. The food industry is increasingly reducing added sugars while highlighting higher fruit percentages and trying to maintain good taste (self-indulgence).

Figures: +28% of “low sugar” product launches in 2016 versus 2012.

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  1. KITCHEN SYMPHONY

The world is more connected than ever, which makes consumers more aware of various culinary cultures. The selection of regional products has never been so high. The “kitchen symphony” trend has created an opening for authentic, visually appealing products that also include detailed information. The “Local” trend is still strong too.

Figures: the launch of regional and “ethnic” products has doubled between 2012 and 2016.

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  1. BODY IN TUNE

Consumers tend to customise their diet according to what is best for their needs and desires. This has resulted in the launch of specific products inspired by the fitness industry. Note the rise of diets such as paleo and low fodmap.

Figures: 15% growth of gluten-free or lactose-free products in Europe 2016

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  1. PLAIN SOPHISTICATION

Consumers are willing to pay a little more for “epicurean” products that have proven premium quality and offer an experience. This specifically applies to the emerging middle-class market and Millennials. This trend encourages top brands to offer products in their portfolios that are both authentic and sophisticated.

Figures: +40% new products using the term “crafted” (alcoholic products, bakery/artisanal products, etc.) – (2012-2016)

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  1. ENCAPSULATING MOMENTS

Targeting specific moments has become the secret weapon for marketers, especially for snacks. Do you want an on-the-go yogurt for a busy weekday or an exclusive spread for a relaxing Sunday brunch? Again, the sports industry is an important source of inspiration because its products apply to specific moments.

Figures: +23% of products with the words “moments” – (2012-2016)

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  1. BEYOND PESTER POWER

10-15 years ago, children tried to convince their parents to buy sweet products in the supermarket (pester power). Currently, because of TV programs that target younger audiences and greater openness, children are becoming important influencers and suffer less from “neophobia” (rejection of new products).

Figures: +30% of product launches targeted at children in 2016 (food & drinks), and +47% for dairy products.

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  1. FUZZY BORDERS

The most innovative products are now at the confluence of different categories. Borders are vanishing as manufacturers offer hybrid innovations. New categories emerge. Meat, for example, is increasingly positioned as a protein.

Figures: +24% of launches in the snacks category.

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  1. SEEDS OF CHANGE

The growing consumer interest in the taste, texture and therapeutic benefits (including vegetable proteins) of Chia and Quinoa has led to growth in the seed category in general.  Seeds are now found in related categories such as soft drinks.

Figures: Chia increased by 53% between 2012 and 2016 (gluten free, omega 3, high fibre and high protein).

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There is one more trend we could add, called “Food Moods“, which is the increasing consideration of consumer psychology (emotions, etc.) in the choice of ingredients and culinary preparations.

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